US Demands Evidence From Turkey to Back Accusations Against Consulate Employees

Ankara’s move to arrest an employee of the US consulate in Istanbul triggered a fierce diplomatic row in US-Turkey relations. After both sides traded restrictive measures the US Department of State demands that Turkey should provide evidence to justify consulate employees detention.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday voiced his concern over detentions of US Consulate employees and US nationals in Turkey and asked Ankara to substantiate its accusations, the State Department spokeswoman said.

“Secretary Tillerson conveyed his profound concern over the detentions of Turkish national employees of our diplomatic mission to Turkey and of several American citizens. Secretary Tillerson emphasized the importance of transparency in the accusations made by the Turkish government and the need for the Turkish government to present the evidence behind these accusations,” Heather Nauert said.

The statement was made after the US top diplomat spoke by phone earlier in the day with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu. The two agreed to stay in close contact to address US concerns, according to the Department’s readout.

The US embassy suspended non-immigrant visa services at the US diplomatic facilities in Turkey last week over the detention of a Turkish employee of the US Consulate General in Istanbul on suspicion that he was linked to an expat cleric accused of masterminding the 2016 coup attempt. An arrest warrant for another Turkish staffer was reportedly issued days later. In response, Turkish authorities decided to suspend US visa applications.

 

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